Dennis, your example of building anticipation and zooming in and out was great, and I attempted to include this in the first 2-3 paragraphs of the piece. It still feels kind of short, though. Let me know what you guys think of this version. I’ve also added some other potential titles at the bottom.
My Female Supervisor Sexually Harassed Me — and I’m a Man.
It began with flirting and complements throughout the workday and during lunch breaks, which I initially went along with as I was flattered — thinking it was harmless. But as the inappropriate IM’s over AIM started pouring in, I realized how wrong I was.
During one chat, my supervisor indirectly attempted to change the conversation’s tone to sexual one, specifically trying to address that we fulfill each other’s physical needs. She wrote, “tell me what you want.” I did my best to brush this off by pretending to be clueless and replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. What do you want?” which only seemed to get her friskier. As time went on, her dresses were more colorful and showed more cleavage, feeling her pheromones approaching me when she smiled as she made flirty remarks.
One day, as I sat in her office eating lunch as I did most days, my supervisor made her intent clear — she wanted to have sex with me. When those words hit my ears, it was as if I crumbled as a plethora of feelings rushed through my body; I was speechless, felt lightheaded and dirty, taken aback and extremely uncomfortable. My first thought was, “how do I tell this woman, who supervises me, that I don’t want to sleep with her?”
I rambled on how it would be inappropriate since she was married with kids. This reason — as valid as it was — wasn’t the solution. But I was taken aback by the situation; as a man, I never imagined being sexually harassed by a woman, which left me unsure how to respond. After all, isn’t it the men who do the sexual harassing? Sure. I want sex, but not with her.
So what do you say when your supervisor tells you what she’s into sexually? Laugh uncomfortably and say, “too much information.” How about when she indirectly offers to reward you with sex in the back seat of her car after you fix her portable vacuum? Just politely brush it off.
As much as I wanted to go to HR, I didn’t because of the repercussions she would have ensued such as her family knowing and the possibility of her losing he job; and another part of me felt that it was pointless, as HR wasn’t actively doing their job.
Looking back, I should have been more firm with my harasser as I didn’t realize how much power I had; I had evidence — inappropriate messages from her insinuating that clear sexual advances. I should have reported her to HR with a screenshot of them and requested a transfer to another office, as I continued to look for full-time work. I should have also filed suit with the company, as this has happened to other people who’ve worked there.
In the end, I was removed from the toxic environment and I’m happy to be out. I’m still learning to cope with the idea of having been sexually harassed. And I never realized how prevalent sexual harassment was in the workplace until I was a victim of it. I knew it always existed, but I never knew how uncomfortable it would make me feel, as a man.
Other potential titles:
A Story About Sexual Harassment: A Man’s Perspective.
A Story Sexual Harassment Story: A Man’s Perspective.